Once the victory over sin and death was accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection, He ascended to heaven. Yet, upon His departure, He did not leave His followers without encouragement; He promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort and sustain His followers until He returned.
It is not hard to imagine how confused and sad Jesus’s followers must have been when their risen savior announced that He would be leaving them yet again. If I had been in that post-resurrection gathering, I would probably have been thinking something like, “You’ve got to be kidding, Jesus! The Romans and Jews just put you to death and now you have risen back to life. You have won! Now you can bring the Kingdom of God to earth and show those earthly authorities how wrong they were! We already lost you once; we can’t bear to lose you again.”
Jesus knew what He was doing. He knew that His departure meant the coming of the Holy Spirit. This same Holy Spirit would empower the disciples to spread the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world.
God’s Holy Spirit
Jesus said that the disciples would benefit far more from having the coming of the Holy Spirit than to continue having Him around bodily on earth. You see, God’s plan for restoring humans to Himself included a final episode where He would come to dwell personally in each of His followers. This is how the work of God is done today on earth: through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God. As we discussed in our second article, the Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is hard for us to imagine a spirit who has an actual personality. Usually when we think of a spirit we think of an impersonal force. Indeed, Christianity stands unique among every other religion in that God the Spirit speaks to humans personally. The Holy Spirit takes an active role in carrying out God’s will in the lives of those who chose to follow Christ.
Throughout the Bible, the Holy Spirit is also commonly called the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ.” When a person says they have Jesus living “inside” of them, what they mean is that the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, is living His will out through their lives.
When a person decides to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their life, they do so by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible promises that the Holy Spirit will come to dwell in each of those who believe in the saving work of Jesus.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises His followers that the Holy Spirit will be with them after He leaves. “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (14:26). Later in the same book, Jesus explains why He must leave in order for the Holy Spirit to arrive, “Now I am going to him who sent me….because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (16:5-7).
There are many more passages like these throughout the Bible which explain the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers in Christ.
But what does the Holy Spirit actually do? In fact, He has many roles.
Conviction, Restoration and Comfort
He convicts people of their sin, so that they turn to belief in Christ. He gives strength to those who are weak. He comforts those who mourn. He searches human hearts. He personally guides all of those through this life who have received Jesus Christ as their Lord. The Holy Spirit offers assurance of salvation to anyone who has placed their trust in Christ. These are only a few of the tasks the Holy Spirit carries out. Indeed, the list can never be exhausted.
In this final article to our Easter series we have looked at the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians.
It is my prayer that this series has in some small way explained the importance of our need for a savior in light of our sins. I hope that you have been able to see something of the boundless grace given in Jesus Christ who willingly gave His life for us and rose again in victory over sin and death. Also, I pray that if you still haven’t made your mind up about where Jesus stands in your own life that you would invite Him in. After all, you may be pleasantly surprised at what happens.